Street Paper Showcase

As part of the conference, street paper delegates took part in a series of pre-booked presentations of films and special projects by INSP members. The showcase allowed a number of the delegates to present the different projects, visions and passions at the heart of their paper.

John Bird (The Big Issue UK) talked about the division within poverty itself in the UK. Whilst the Big Issue deals with some of the most broken and desperate individuals, the UK is home to some of the most expensive poor in the world who go through various local authorities throughout their lifetime costing the UK economy millions, he said: “when you get a situation where the poor cost more than the upper and middle classes you are in an enormous crisis”.

Michaela Gründler (Apropos, Austria) presented a book that Apropos created in partnership with well known Austrian writers and Apropos vendors focusing on the theme of ‘What does home mean to you’. View Presentation | View Book

Trudy Vlok & Melany Bendix (The Big Issue South Africa) presented two projects. The first was ‘The Big Issue Reflections’, a short film used to promote the street paper concept in South Africa. The second was a presentation of their recent ‘special editions’, including a recent edition edited by Sir Richard Branson, focusing on the theme of social enterprise. These special editions help to diversify content, increase sales by attracting new readers and help the magazine to develop relationships with potential supporters. View Video

Frank Dries (Straatniuews)

Frank Dries (Straatnieuws, the Netherlands) presented the next phase of his vendor bag project. Last year Frank presented a paper bag for vendors to sell on the street, this year the idea has changed into bags for vendors to use to sell their street papers. The bags are made from recycled tyres and bicycle tubes making them very durable. If you/your street paper is interested in Frank’s vendor bags, contact Frank:

Mirjam Gostinčar (Kralji Ulice, Slovenia) showed a video presentation about the vendors of her paper. View Videos

Tenidola Awoyemi (Freedom Foundation, Nigeria) presented a short film on the work of the Freedom Foundation in Nigeria. The Freedom Foundation and the Nigerian NGO Devcoms are currently working closely with INSP to launch Nigeria’s first ever street paper in the autumn.

Kayoko Yakuwa (The Big Issue Japan) showed a slideshow of photographs from her sabbatical over the last few months, in which she visited many INSP street papers around the world, including Serbia, Russia, the Netherlands and Germany. Read Kayoko’s Travel Blog

Sara Hoegen (Aluma, Sweden) presented Aluma’s CD project ‘Orkanen‘ (Hurricane in English). It was created in collaboration with national and international musicians, including Manu Chao and the Cardigans. The aim was to help to raise awareness and understanding of issues surrounding homelessness, while also increasing income to vendors. The CD was bought by Aluma vendors for 20 Swedish Kroner (SEK) (just under £2). This money was invested into another project to support homeless people. Vendors sold the CD on the streets for 80 SEK, with the vendors keeping the proceeds (60 SEK). While all the copies managed to be sold, Sarah says that there were also disadvantages with this project, such as CD sales impacting negatively on street paper sales as vendors preferred to sell the CD as they could make more money.

Miku Sano (The Big Issue Japan)

Yoko Mizukoshi and Miku Sano (The Big Issue Japan) thanked all members for their support of The Big Issue Japan and its vendors after the earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. Yoko and Miku gave an account of what had happened following the disaster, including their vendors’ involvement in the cleanup efforts following the aftermath. They presented heartbreaking photographs and stories of people living in the areas affected by the nuclear power plant explosion, who were forced to evacuate their homes, leaving many things, including their livelihoods behind. The Big Issue Japan will soon be running a follow up story on the situation in Japan, which they will send to the Street News Service for members to republish.

Rose Henry (Victoria Street Newz, Canada) talked about her involvement with the online forum Homeless Nation. Homeless Nation provides recording equipment allowing many homeless people to showcase their stories and in addition encourages them to write on the website and blog which generates an estimated 10,000 hits a week. Homeless Nation shows how homelessness organisations can utilize new media and stay current in an ever changing society.

These are just a few of the projects which are taking place throughout the INSP. A number interesting themes emerged from the delegates accounts but the general consensus is that street papers by and large have the ability to force change and empower the homeless to shape their own future.

Edited from the ‘Street Paper Showcase‘ article By Lucy Gordon